Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Who Woulda Thunk It?

Although I put a great deal of emphasis on growing as much of our food as I can, I've come to realize there are still areas in which I could do better.  Apparently a lot better.

In the garden each year, I plant a couple of parsley plants.  (Can't get the darn things to winter over in our area so have to start anew each season.)  During the summer, I use the fresh parsley from these plants, running outside with scissors in hand frequently to snip off a few stalks for adding to many of the meals I cook.

But in the past when I've though about drying some parsley to have for use during the winter months, I've always (she admits shamefacedly) figured buying dried parsley at our organic co-op was so time and labor saving that I have never bothered to dry my own.

Last fall before a killing frost put them out of commission, I had such big, beautiful and lush looking parsley growing that I cut down both plants and dried the leaves in our dehydrator.


In using our own home grown and dried parsley this winter, I've come to appreciate what has to be the much higher quality of my own compared to that purchased.  The above picture shows a tablespoon of my parsley on the left and some I purchased on the right.  (In real life, the purchased parsley looks even more yellowish-brown in color than in the picture!)  Can hardly believe how much more vibrant and colorful mine is.  And here's the real clincher, folks.  The flavor of mine is far superior.  Well, duh.  Who would thunk it?  Not me.  Silly, silly me.

Just shows to go ya, I still have (lotsa) room to learn and grow in continually producing and preserving more of the food we ingest . . . even such a (seemingly) insignificant thing as parsley.

This gardening season, I'm putting in six parsley plants and will have a stash of half-gallon jars of dehydrated parsley squirreled away in my pantry come fall.  You can count on it.

20 comments:

Sparkless said...

That is a very good idea. I've had parsley overwinter here but I always forget to use it all. I could get myself a dehydrator and dry my own herbs! Plus like you said drying your own tastes better and saves money. Even factoring the cost of drying I would still think it would save you money especially one something that you use lots of like parsley.

Susan said...

Wow! What a difference! I somehow forgot to dry parsley this year - I dry almost all other herbs, but guess I figured the parsley plant would carry on even under the snow. Little did I know that the Arctic would be moving down our way. Hope it survived. I have a teensy bit left from last year, which I am using by the thimbleful. I'm with you - more parsley plants this year!

Kristina said...

I have the same issues with trying to bring my rosemary plants in. They die every winter. I start new each spring. I plan to add dried chives to my dried herb stash next spring.

Heather Duncan said...

I dried my parsley this year too. I love that the color is just as green and it smelled really good. I had just bought a bottle of parsley like a week before and when I opened it up to compare the two, I couldn't get over how gross the bottle one looked and how it had no smell.

I am attempting to over winter my parsley and rosemary. The rosemary looks okay, but can't tell with the parsley. My dad covered it over in a ton of straw.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - With parsley as green as this home dried stuff stays, you'd be surprised the color it adds to whatever you throw it into. I don't think I'll ever be without my home dried parsley again. I like it that much. Hope you get a dehydrator, too!

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I once saw a row of parsley plants at the front of a flower bed and it was just beautiful. (But what would one do with that much parsley??) Why, dry it and use it, of course!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Have you tried freezing cut up chives? That's so much faster and they stay the same vibrant green as when you cut them. I wouldn't be without my many containers of frozen chives during the winter!

Mama Pea said...

Heather - I have tried covering my parsley with a boat load of mulch, too, but so far it's never made it over winter. As usual, I tried again this year. Maybe with all the snow we've had, that much more insulation will enable it to survive this time!

Judy T said...

I once had a parsley plant in a pot that I kept on the windowsill in the kitchen for a couple of years. I don't remember what happened to it but I obviously don't have it anymore. I tend to use parsley sparingly since no one else here are really huge fans of it.

Carolyn said...

I am SOOOOO bad about drying herbs. I put that stinking herb rock garden in last year and had a ton of basil & oregano & cilantro. And how much of it did I save and dry, you ask? Not a stinking leaf. Go and yell at me all next year, please.

M.E. Masterson said...

So good when it is something you grown yourself!

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

There is such a big difference in any herb, vegetable, or even fruit if you grow it yourself instead of using the store bought stuff.
Like you, I will plant my herbs and harvest them for future use. When I pack them in jars, I will use oxygen absorbers to save the dried herbs longer.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

You are so smart to plan ahead; unfortunately, my plans are, too often, bigger than my abilities -smile-.

Kelly said...

I've never grown parsley. I use it all the time too, silly. It will definitely be in this years herb garden. I'm going to put some sort of fence around my herb garden so the chickens don't dust bath in it and the turkey don't think it's an all you can eat buffet ☺

Mama Pea said...

Judy T - I've tried to keep a pot of parsley inside over winter but not had any luck with that either! (Just call me Old Black Thumb!)

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - Well, you are just an utter, total, absolute failure! We shall all gang up on you this coming herb growing season and demand weekly reports from that herb rock garden you so painstakingly built last year!

Mama Pea said...

M.E. Masterson - The flavor and nutrition really is better than anything you can purchase, isn't it?

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I must confess I've never used the oxygen absorbers in any of my dehydrated foods. Maybe it's time I got with it?

Mama Pea said...

Thistle Cover Farm - Don't feel as though you are alone! Making plans is the easy part . . . getting them all implemented is haaaarrrd!

Mama Pea said...

Kelly - It's one of the easiest herbs to grow and flourish. Starting it from seed isn't hard but you have to have patience as it takes FOR-EVAH to germinate. Fortunately, nearly all greenhouses always have started parsley plants so you might choose to go that route.

Truly free-ranging poultry is wonderful IF you can keep them from destroying plants right along with all the bad bugs!